Earlier in 2005, Kevin Myers put his foot in the whole single parent discussion with predictable results.
It might be possible, if we examine the broader picture, to drag the discussion, began by Dr. Ed Walsh, out of the mire that Mr. Kevin Myers comments dragged it into a few months back. Much has been written about the specifics while missing some of the elements of the broader picture. It is often overlooked that the overall increase in percentage terms that lone parents constitute of the national birthrate is as much due to increased numbers of people in relationships being unable to afford to have children due to burdensome mortgages and insane commutes, as it is to do with an increase in numbers of people having children alone. Article 41 of the constitution states "The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home." This would appear to be part of the reasoning behind having specific payments for parents that are caring for their children who are not married. Society and parents would be better served if we removed the distinction between parents that the One-Parent Family Payment creates by removing this payment completely. In turn we would increase the payments available to all families by way of moving the money currently given directly to the unmarried parent to child benefit. This change would at a stroke remove the opportunity for abuse inherent in One-Parent Family Payment, whereby a couple pretend that one parent is raising the child when both parents are in fact together. This increase in child benefit being means tested in incremental steps if necessary to ensure that it is targeted at those who need it most. People who have made a public commitment to each other and who take the responsibility to provide a secure home for their children are both forced out of that home to work in order to afford it, to spend increasing amounts of their lives commuting to work, and to spend mortgage payments levels of money on childcare. We should be able to rebalance the state incentive to those who are prepared to make a commitment to each other and to their children without leaving anyone in poverty as a result. Parents are parents and children are children. It is unclear why the state should give money to some and not to others based on factors other than economic circumstances.